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Frequently Asked Questions - Housing

Local newspapers have adverts from landlords and estate agencies about accommodation available in the area. An appointment may be arranged to view the accommodation. It is always best to take a friend who has lived in the area with you.

Most estate agents have an office near town centres and can provide necessary information.

Some recruitment agencies provide their workers with accommodation. However, should your services with an agency be terminated you will be obliged to leave the accommodation provided by the agency.

Rent prices vary according to the area, quality and type of accommodation you are renting. When renting, always consider the price of the rent, utility bills, (e.g. electric), the deposit a landlord may request and if you the tenant have to pay the rates.

In most cases, it is the responsibility of your landlord to ensure that:

• The structure and exterior of your property, for example, the roof, windows, and ceilings etc are in repair, and
• The installations for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation and heating are in proper working order.

If the landlord fails to provide this, you should seek legal advice from the Citizen’s Advice  Bureau.

Gas safety

A tenant's responsibilities include:

• Paying your rent on time    
• Paying the bills in accordance with your tenancy agreement. eg;  rates, electric, TV license 
• Taking reasonable care of the premises
• Ending your tenancy with appropriate notice
• Give your landlord access when needed
• Reporting repairs needed or any other problems
• Respecting the smoking policy of the household

Rubbish must be placed in a wheeled bin for removal by the collection lorry. Refuse bags will not be collected. It is illegal to leave rubbish on the street and could result in a heavy fine in Court. Every household in the Borough should have a

Blue bin for general household rubbish 
Green bin for recyclable material. 

Newspapers, cardboard, plastic bottles food and drink tins. Do not put plastic bags, glass or leftover food into your green bin.

 

Make sure you’re correctly licensed

People who are not correctly licensed risk prosecution and a possible fine of up to £1,000.  TV Licensing understands, however, that some people find it hard to pay the annual fee of £145.50 for a colour TV Licence or £49 for a black and white licence in one go.  For this reason, there are a number of different ways to pay for a TV Licence, including a cash payment plan. The options are as follows:

Housing benefit is a benefit paid by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) and can cover all or part of your weekly/monthly rent. It is paid to those on a low income or receiving other benefits such as income support or jobseekers allowance.

To make a claim, ask your local NIHE office for a housing benefit application form. You can get help completing it from your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau or community support offices.

• When you make a claim keep a copy of your form and any letters you send or receive.

When you leave an accommodation you must

• Inform the electricity supply companies (unless your electricity is paid by your landlord, as part of your tenancy) so they know you are not using these facilities anymore
• Inform the landline phone company
• Inform the cable TV company and the TV licensing authority
• Inform the local Rates Office, if you pay the rates.

If you have no home or in danger of losing your home you should go to your local Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) district office that will assess you needs. NIHE has a statutory duty to persons who present as homeless, however, the level of help they can give you depends on whether you are eligible and your particular circumstances. The help may range from advice and assistance to providing temporary accommodation to permanent accommodation.

The ‘out-of-hours’ homelessness emergency telephone number is 028 3833 4444